[TAG] Possible 2c tip on ad blocking in Mozilla
n.youngman at ntlworld.com
Wed Jun 2 23:33:13 MSD 2004
On Tuesday 25 May 2004 3:17 am, Ben Okopnik wrote:
> On Mon, May 24, 2004 at 07:44:40PM +0100, Neil Youngman wrote:
> > Would a 2c tip on the basics of ad blocking in Mozilla be too basic to be
> > of interest? I'm thinking of settings for popup blocking, the adblock
> > plugin and anything else that comes to mind.
> I figure that it would be a Good Thing for those recovering from
> Wind0ws. Most of them have been sharpened to a fine pitch by all the
> "block the pop-up ads!" spam, ads, and popups :) - they're going to be
> asking "what software do I buy to do this with Linux?", and you'll just
> have to destroy their fondest illusions. They'll love you for it. :)
OK. Where do I start? this could even be a short article.
Here's a first draft. I've not written anything like this in a long while, so
I'd appreciate maximum feedback. My force fields have been remodulated and
<accent type="scottish" mode="dodgy"> we should be able to take it Captain
<H1>Taking control of your browser with Mozilla</H1>
Web surfing has more than it's fair share of annoyances. I'm thinking of pop
ups, pop unders, flash and other intrusive ads. Sometimes you can spend ages
waiting for a site to load, when the delay isn't on the site itself, it's
waiting for an ad server to serve up another irrelevant, bandwidth wasting
Fortunately Mozilla, free software's most popular browser has the solutions.
The adblock plugin can be configured to block practically all unwanted ads,
Popup blocking is simpler, but very effective at blocking popups and there is
also a very simple option to block images from a specific site.
NOTE: If you're not yet a card carrying penguinista, there is nothing in this
article that is Linux specific. All the options described here should work as
described under all operating systems supported by Mozilla.
<H2>The Adblock plugin</H2>
The Adblock plugin is probably the most comprehensive solution to annoying ads
in Mozilla. Due to it's power and flexibility it takes a little more work
than some of the other options to set up, but it's really not that difficult.
If you do find it too complicated, then start with the other options
To install adblock go to http://adblock.mozdev.org/installation.html and
follow the links from there. At the time of writing there are only
development builds available. Following the link to "Dev. Builds", you should
find a link that's called something like "Adblock 0.5 d2 nightly 35". If you
click on this, it should prompt you to ask whether to install the plugin
[Need detail on sequence here]. If it doesn't, software installation is
probably disabled in your configuration. To fix this select "preferences"
from the edit menu, then select "software installation" from under "advanced"
in the left hand pane, check the box labelled "enable software installation"
and click OK. You should now be able to go back and complete the
If you don't see "software installation" in the left hand pane and there is a
'+' sign next to "advanced", click the '+'. it should change to a '-' and the
"software installation" item should appear.
[Will we have to restart Mozilla here?]
You should now see "Adblock" underlined in the bottom right hand corner of
your browser and the tools menu should have an adblock submenu. If that's all
there you are ready to start using adblock.
The principle behind the adblock plugin is that you can tell it block URLs
(web addresses) matching a certain pattern. So for example, if you enter the
pattern /adserver/, then http://example.com/ads/annoying_flash.swf will be
blocked. An asterisk will match any texts, so the pattern
*://*annoyingads.com/ will block anything in the domains annoyingads.com and
The question now is, how do you select which patterns to block?
I suggest starting by picking a site that you like, but which suffers from too
ads. Once the page has loaded, clicking on the "Adblock" text in the bottom
right hand corner will pop up a list of blockable items in the current page.
The ads are usually very obvious. The addresses will contain names related to
advertising. Click on one of these and edit it down to a suitable pattern,
then select another page from the site and see if it's blocked the right
Some care must be taken in your choice of patterns to block. Simply selecting
"ads" as a pattern will block http://example.com/downloads/ as well as
http://toomanypopups.com/ads/, whereas the pattern "/ads/" will only block
directories called ads.
Don't spend a lot of time setting this up initially. Just web surf as normal
and setup a few more filters whenever a site takes too long to download or
you are annoyed by popups and other ads.
The simplest option provided by Mozilla is popup blocking. 90% of popups will
disappear if you select the "block unrequested popups" option in preferences.
The main downside to this is that some sites rely on popups for their
operation, so when a function on a site isn't working it is important to
remember that you have blocked popups and to see if unblocking popups for
that site solves the problem.
If you are using the adblock plugin then you are unlikely to need popup
blocking. If you don't want to use the plugin you can unblock popups for
specific sites. You don't have to unblock all popups to get one site working.
The "block unrequested popups" option is found by selecting "preferences" from
the edit menu and then selecting "popup windows" from under "privacy and
security" in the left hand pane.
If you don't see "popup windows" in the left hand pane and there is a '+'
sign next to "privacy and security", click the '+'. it should change to a '-'
and the "popup windows" item should appear.
There are also options to have it play a sound or display an icon when it
blocks a popup, which may help to remind you that popups are blocked, when a
site isn't working as expected. You can then go to the edit menu and select
"Popup Manager/Allow Popups From This Site" to get the site working.
<H2>Blocking images from a specific server
It is also possible to block some ads by clicking the right mouse button on an
image and selecting "Block images from this server". this option will not
always be available, e.g. the shockwave plugin replaces this menu, so this
can't be used with Flash movies.
Again I would recommend using the adblock plugin, rather than this option.
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